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Printed circuit boards are vital components of modern electronics. However, once they have served their purpose, they are often burned or buried in landfills, polluting the air, soil and water. Most concerning are the brominated flame retardants added to printed circuit boards to keep them from catching fire. Now, researchers reporting in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering have developed a ball-milling method to break down these potentially harmful compounds, enabling safer disposal.
Composed of 30% metallic and 70% nonmetallic particles, printed circuit boards support and connect all of the electrical components of a device. Metallic components can be recovered from crushed circuit boards by magnetic and high-voltage electrostatic separations, leaving behind nonmetallic particles including resins, reinforcing materials, brominated flame retardants and other additives. Scientists have linked compounds in brominated flame retardants to endocrine disorders and fetal...
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